Parkia speciosa Hassk.

Last updated: 17 Oct 2016

Scientific Name

Parkia speciosa Hassk.


Inga pyriformis Jungh., Mimosa pedunculata Hunter, Parkia biglobosa ("ensu auct., non (Jacq.") R.Br., Parkia harbesonii Elmer, Parkia macropoda Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Nyiring, petai, pete, sator [2]; chou dou, patag, patai [3]
English Sato tree, stink bean [2]
Indonesia Kayu beta, petai, pete, peuteuy [2]
Thailand Sato, sator, sator dan, sator kow [2]
Philippines U’pang [3].

Geographical Distributions

Parkia speciosa is native to Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and peninsular Thailand. Occasionally it is cultivated, but rarely outside its native area. [4]

Botanical Description

P. speciosa is a member of the family Leguminosae. It is a tree that can reach up to 30 m tall, with smooth reddish-brown bark and hairy branchlets. [4]

The leaves are arranged alternate and bipinnate. The petiole is 2-6 cm long, with subcircular glands about 1 cm above the base. The rachis is 18-30 cm long, with subcircular glands be­tween the junctions of the basal pairs of pinnae. There are 14-18 pairs of pinnae which are 3-9 cm long, and with circular glands below the basal pairs of leaflets. There are (18-)31-38 pairs of leaflets per pinna which are linear, and measuring 5-9 mm x 1.5-2.2 mm where the base at one side is expanded into an apiculate auricle. The apex is rounded and mucronate. [4]

The inflorescence is a pear-shaped pendulous head and measures 2-5 cm in diametre. The peduncle is 20-45 cm long. The flowers are small and numerous. They are brown-yellow, male or asexual at the base of the head and bisexual at the apex of the head. The sepal and petal are tubular and 5-lobed. There are 10 stamens (staminodes). The filaments at the base unite into a tube. The ovary is borne on a short stalk. [4]

The fruit is a legume on a long stalk. It measures 35-45 cm x 3-5 cm, usually strong twisted and prominently swollen over the 12-18 seeds. [4]

The seed is broadly ovoid, measuring 2-2.5 cm x 1.5-2 cm, horizon­tal in the pod, with very thin testa and white. [4]


P. speciosa is frequently cultivated from the plains up to elevations of 1500 m, but it does best between 500-1000 m. At low elevations, there are pest problems, and above 1000 m, produc­tivity decreases. Wild trees are found in primary and secondary forests, mostly at low elevations. [4]

Chemical Constituent

P. speciosa has been reported to contain hydrogen sulphide, acetaldehyde, ethyl formate, ethyl acetate, methanol, ethanol, propanol, 2,3-butanedione, butanal, propanal, pental, hexanal, 3-methyl butanol, 3-hydroxy-2-butanone, hexanol, acetic acid, 2,3-butanediol, 1,3,5-trithiane, 1,2,4-trithiolane. [5]

P. speciosa seed has been reported to contain, the terpenoids detected are β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, lupeol, campesterol and squalene. [6]

Plant Part Used

Seeds and roots. [3][7]

Traditional Use

P. speciosa seed is much reputed as a remedy for diabetes amongst the Malay population of South-east Asia. Many have advocated just taking the seeds raw together with rice, while others recommended that it be boiled and taken as vegetable with rice. There are others who advised taking a decoction of the roots to prevent the disease. Decoction of the roots is also given as a diuretic. [7]

Worms are treated using the decoction of the roots. The seeds are used to relieve flatulence [7]. The seeds are also valued as a carminative. [3]

Parts of the sprouts and of the thickened inflorescence, young leaves, fruits and seeds are eaten raw or roasted and as vegetable as well [8]. The seeds are used traditionally for treating kidney pain, cancer, hepatalgia, oedema, nephritis, colic, cholera and as an anthelmintic; also applied externally to wounds and ulcers. It is also useful in the treatment of scabies, various types of pox, cough [9].

Preclinical Data


Antibacterial activity

In a study carried out on the antibacterial activity of edible plant species it was found that the aqueous extract of P. speciosa showed some antibacterial activity against Aeromonas hydrophila, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalatiae, Streptococcus aginosus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. [10]

Antioxidant activity

Bheemaraju studied the antioxidant activity of P. speciosa and noticed that the antioxidant activity was more in the pod than in the seeds up to 19 times. Amongst the compounds isolated are an array of phenolics [11]. Vitamin C was also found to be an important antioxidant contributing around 8% of the antioxidant activity of the seeds but was completely absent from the pods. Kwanjai et. al found that storage at both room temperature and chilling temperature increase the total phenolic content and anti-oxidant activites of P. speciosa [12].

Mitogenic activity

A lectin purified from P. speciosa showed mitogenic activity on isolated peripheral blood lymphocytes taken from normal blood donors and patient with oesophageal cancer. There was a slightly lesser responsiveness observed in case of lymphocytes from the cancer patient. This activity is comparable to those of concanavalin A, phytohaemagglutinin and pokeweed mitogen. [13]

Antidiabetic activity

P. speciosa has been promoted as hypoglycaemic agents amongst the Malaysian population for generations. Fathailya decided to look into the antidiabetic properties of the pods and seeds of this plant. They found that administering the chloroform extract of the seeds to alloxan-induced diabetic rats did produced a significant depression of blood glucose level. They isolated two related compounds (b-sitosterol-66% and stigmasterol-34%) which seem to work synergistically to produce the effect but had no effects when tested individually. The hypoglyceamic effect was not seen in normal rats. In a hypoglycaemic assay guided extraction they isolated stigmast-4-en-3-one which produced 84% activity. It has no effect on normal rats. [14]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of P. speciosa [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Parkia speciosa Hassk. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2010 Jul 14; cited 2016 Oct 17]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 430.
  3. World Agroforestry. Parkia speciosa Hassk. [homepage on the Internet]. c2016 [cited 2016 Oct 19]. Available from:
  4. Siemonsma JS, Piluek K, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 8. Vegetables. Wageningen, Netherlands: Pudoc Scientific Publishers; 1993.
  5. Miyazawa M, Osman F. Headspace constituents of Parkia speciosa seed. Nat Prod Let. 2001:15(3):171-176.
  6. Kamisah Y, Othman F, Saad Qodriyah HM, Jaarin K. Parkia speciosa Hassk.: A potential phytomedicine. Evi Based Comple Alt Med. 2013; 2013: 709028.
  7. Mat-Salleh K, Latif A. Tumbuhan ubatan Malaysia. Selangor, Malaysia: Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2002; p. 386.
  8. Hanelt P, editor. Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Volume 2. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2001; p. 582.
  9. Ismail N, Ismail Z, Abdul Manaf M. Indeks tumbuhan ubat Malaysia. Selangor: Victus Semulajadi (M) Sdn. Bhd, 1999; p. 48.
  10. Musa N, Wei LS, Seng CT, Wee W, Leong LK. Potential of edible plants as remedies of systemic bacterial disease infection in cultured fish. Global J Pharmacol. 2008:2(2):31-36.
  11. Bheemaraju Amarnath. A study on antioxidant nature of petai (Parkia speciosa). Masters Thesis. Science National University of Singapore; 2004. Available from:
  12. Saelim K, Jongjareonrak A, Benjakul S. Effect of storage condition on total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of stink bean (Parkia speciosa Hassk.). KMITL Sci J. 2008;8(2)
  13. Suvachittanont W, Jaranchavanapet P. Mitogenic effect of Parkia speciosa seed lectin on human lymphocytes. Planta Med: 2000;66(8);699-704.
  14. Jamaluddin F, Mohamed S, Nordin Lajis M. Hypoglycaemic effect of Parkia speciosa seeds due to the synergistic action of β-sitosterol and stigmasterol. Food Chem. 1994: 49(4);339-345.
  15. Jamaluddin F, Mohameda S, Nordin Lajis M. Hypoglycaemic effect of stigmast-4-en-3-one, from Parkia speciosa empty pods. Food Chem. 1995:54(1);9-13.